Menu Skip to Menu
close
Play

On non-violence: a minority tradition

Summary

Karen Armstrong describes efforts such as the Peace and Truce of God.

Summary

Karen Armstrong describes efforts such as the Peace and Truce of God.

Transcript

You know nearly all religious traditions, at the same time as they have been engaged in state-building, civilisation-building, and warfare there were always voices that cried out against this structural violence. Prophets and sages and priests would call out for it.

So during the Truce and Peace of God people were – the church was trying to stem the violence that was going to creating an agrarian state in Europe, in which they were in the process of subjugating the peasantry. And the church tried to stop this by imposing on the knights that there must be no fighting, say between Wednesday and Sunday evening. For once – so once a week they had to stop fighting altogether. And in many ways they managed to impose it in this way. But you know, violence would out.

And the Quakers have been remarkably good too, about holding on to a non-violent ethic. But you know, the sad fact is that, because our states depend upon violence and suppression, non-violence is probably not an option. And that is the dilemma we wrestle with.